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'Phantom of the Opera' has been the longest running play on Broadway Photo: WikiCommons.
'Phantom of the Opera' has been the longest running play on Broadway Photo: WikiCommons.

'Phantom of the Opera' says goodbye to Broadway

After 35 years on stage, the play will have its final performance next year.

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Due to a sharp drop in box office since the pandemic, the theatrical classic Phantom of the Opera will say goodbye to audiences at the Majestic Theatre on Feb. 18, 2023 after running for 13,925 performances, the producers announced in an official statement. 

Several media reports noted that box office grosses have fluctuated since the musical reopened after the pandemic, reaching more than $1 million per week, but also falling to $850,000. 

Even with the ticket price cut in half, to invite more people to the shows, the theater could not meet the production's high operating costs, the New York Times reported.

The Phantom of the Opera, a play by Lloyd Webber, was first performed in London in October 1986. The play is based on the novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, which tells the story of a disfigured composer who causes accidents at the Paris Opera and falls madly in love with Christine, a young soprano.

"It's a wonderful production. I'll be sad that night, but we've had fantastic entrances," Webber said Tuesday during a visit by TODAY. "I don't think we'll ever see anything like it again, or at least I won't."

Cameron Mackintosh, producer of the play, also weighed in via a statement: "As a producer, you dream that a show will last forever. In fact, my production of Andrew's 'Cats' proudly declared for decades that it would be 'now and forever.' However, the Phantom has outlasted that show's extraordinary Broadway run. But all shows eventually close," he wrote. 

During the TODAY interview, Webber also said that his Broadway days are not over.

"Oh, I'm not leaving yet, until they kick me out," he quipped.

The Phantom of the Opera has been exported around the world, generating more than $6 billion in box office receipts, a benchmark second only to The Lion King, according to Variety. If only Broadway is counted, it is the third highest-grossing musical in history, with more than $1 billion, behind The Lion King and Wicked, both of which are still running.

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